Now, keep in mind, I absolutely LOVE the Carnaby Mod period! The colors, the patterns, the details... a time when men's fashion was really taking off. Unfortunately, not everything worked. Although there were many great ideas coming out of Carnaby Street and influencing designers around the world, there were also some major flops. Take The Beatstalkers, from Glasgow, for instance:
My guess is that these clothes were made quickly and then thrust onto the band for this promo shoot. Take a moment and absorb what's going on here. First off, some of the individual pieces are pretty nice and full of hip touches. I see a sharp floral cuff-linked shirt going on... a light blue shirt with monotoned cuffs and collar... a sharp roll-neck in dark blue... trousers with front pocket flaps...
It's too bad they were all thrown together into a massive Mod-esque jumble. Let's take a closer look and focus on just a few problems going on here:
- Braces over that nice monochromatic shirt with the contrasting cuff and collar. Yes, I know this guy's ahead of his time, foreshadowing the oncoming skinhead look. And yeah, he's a bit early for Slade auditions, but those braces with that shirt just do NOT work. Takes your eyes off the contrasting tones of the shirt. (Plus, it's a little tight, but who am I to say anything about that?)
- Okay, I don't know what the heck's going on here. Was the tailor going too far in trying to buck the low-rise trend of the time? Or did he just get lazy after realizing he didn't get his hipster measurements right? Maybe he couldn't find a zipper long enough for the trousers and just convinced this poor kid to tighten his belt just a little tighter. He probably thought that extra material up on top might lead to a new fashion trend. Thankfully, it didn't.
- You might have to zoom in a little closer on this one. Interesting idea that I think works on other items of clothing, but the hoop zipper just doesn't work on men's trousers. I can just picture this kid getting stuck on a crowded tube train and that hoop getting caught on something on his way off. Yikes! Plus, those trousers need some belt loops and a nice, wide belt.
- Oh boy... looks like someone was getting ready for work as a costume designer on U.F.O., am I right? This kid almost had a cool look down, with that smart, button-down shirt and a pinkie ring. The color of the trousers looks great too... but, doh! Those trousers just keep going on and on, into futuristic overall territory.
But you know what? The Beatstalkers prove that you can't judge a book by its cover. Sure, they might have been embarrassed shortly after this photo went out to all the local music papers of the time. And sure, they might have complained to their manager, "Hey, we thought you said you'd make us look like the Small Faces? This doesn't look like the Small Faces!" But no matter what mistakes they made fashion-wise, they still knew how to rock out.
Forgive the Beatstalkers their clothing errors and dig the sounds they knew how to lay down: